April 18, 2014

Worker Falls to Death from Scaffold

Our Atlanta workplace accident lawyers have been following the story of Smiley Plaster Co, which has been cited by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for unsafe working conditions. Smiley Plaster Co. is a stucco and masonry construction company in Twin City.

Scaffolding.jpg

On September 20, 2013, a 42-year-old worker for Smiley fell off a scaffolding at a college dorm at East Georgia State College and died. He was applying stucco at the time. Due to this worker's death, OSHA investigated Smiley and cited Jack Smiley, the head of Smiley Plaster, for five safety violations, which includes wilfully violating the law. Robert Vazzi, the head of OSHA in Savannah, said, "A worker died after the employer knowingly failed to provide a properly built scaffold system to protect employees from fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Employers must ensure their workers are protected." There were 269 fall related fatalities in construction accidents in 2012, out of a total 775 construction related fatalities that year. Due to these dangers, OSHA has a fall prevention campaign developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program.

A wilful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or plain indifference to worker safety. Smiley's wilful violation was for a failure to provide fall protection for workers on scaffolds higher than ten feet. This violation has put Smiley on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which inspects employers who have shown indifference to the legal safety obligations for their workers.

Smiley's other violations included failing to provide adequate scaffolding foundation; failing to brace the scaffolding; and failing to provide protection from debris for the employees working on the scaffolding. These were classified as serious violations, which are ones in which there was a substantial probability of death or serious injury resulting from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Smiley was also cited for failing to report the fatality of its worker within eight hours. This was classified as an other-than-serious violation, which is one that has a direct relationship to job safety but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

For these violations, OSHA has proposed $57,000 in penalties for Smiley Plaster Co. Smiley Plaster Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Atlanta Workers Compensation Attorneys


If you or a loved one has been hurt in a workplace accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues to get any needed compensation to help your family through the difficult time, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Dupont Yard, Inc. Cited by OSHA
Workplace Accident Before GA Supreme Court

April 10, 2014

Poor Psychiatric Care Blamed for Killing

Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers read about a sad case of an elderly couple failed by the psychiatric care system at a Georgia hospital. The tragic, and possibly avoidable, case involves Alex Blatt, a 70 year old who killed his wife of 40 years, Eva Blatt, in a psychotic episode in 2012.

Doctor Hands.jpg

Mr. Blatt went to a Kaiser facility in November 2011 with psychosis, paranoia, delusions, impaired judgment, physical aggression, loose association, and racing thoughts. Staff noticed he was specifically worried about his wife. He was committed to Peachford psychiatric hospital from November 28 to December 13. During his stay, he was noted to be erratic and combative with staff. At some points he refused to remain clothed. A doctor, not party to the lawsuit, recommended a CT scan for Mr. Blatt, which was never performed. He remained agitated and easily confused. When Mrs. Blatt was told he would be discharged, she called the psychiatric hospital and shared her fears about his mental state due to the fact that he was still saying crazy things. The hospital assured her that he would not be released if he was a danger. The next day they released him with several prescriptions. A week later, he went to a Kaiser facility again because of pain in his feet and one of his prescriptions was reduced. That prescription, for Haldol, was cancelled by a Kaiser doctor, Dr. Phu Thai, in January 2012, as was another drug, and neither were replaced with another medication. In February, another doctor, Dr. Rick Stallings, stated no follow up was needed for three months for Mr. Blatt. Then on March 19, 2012, Mr. Blatt had a psychotic episode and killed Mrs. Blatt and tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists. He is currently in Gwinnett County Jail for murder awaiting his trial.

Mr. Blatt and his brother-in-law, Murray Deutsch, have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc, the Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Inc, and the two doctors, Dr. Phu Thai and Dr. Stallings. They claim Mr. Blatt had the fatal psychotic episode due to the lack of follow up and lack of replacement medicine for his condition. The lawsuit claims, "Mr. Blatt now suffers from severe guilt, anguish, and emotional pain and suffering as a result of his actions while in a severely psychotic state." Mr. Blatt and Mr. Deutsch are seeking punitive damages from a jury trial on their medical malpractice case.

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorneys


If you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent medical professional, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Medical malpractice cases are often complicated and require expert testimony. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues to get any needed compensation to help your family through the difficult time, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: Life Mental Health via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Judge Orders More Damages for Medical Malpractice Case
Antidepressant Suicides and Homicides Could Result from Medical Malpractice of Atlanta, Georgia Doctors

April 1, 2014

Settlement for Electrocution Wrongful Death

Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers read about the tragic case of Adriana Rhine who was electrocuted to death at a fountain on a Georgia college. Adriana was 19 years old and with her three year old son, Zi'Quan, on campus.

Electric Shock.jpg

The tragic incident happened in September 2012 on the campus of South Georgia Technical College in Americus. Adriana was a student, but that day she was on campus to donate blood and see her sister, Jasmine, for her sister's birthday. Jasmine was also a student. Adriana and Zi'Quan were waiting for Jasmine, and the little boy was playing with a blue ball. The ball rolled away and into a fountain. The fountain had a single knee high barrier chain, and it had previously had spouts of water several feet high. Adriana stopped Zi'Quan from chasing the ball and went to get it for him. When she reached into the water to get the ball, she was electrocuted. Little Zi'Quan was near her, watching as she struggled. She screamed for help, but passers-by who tried to help had to let go because they were being shocked too.

Adriana's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last May, hoping that others would not be injured or killed by this danger. Investigations found issues with the wiring for lighting and the motor beneath the fountain. Officials require inspection when fountains are built to make sure of safety, but then maintenance is left to the owner. Adriana's family argued that the fountain was dangerous due to poor maintenance, which allowed the water to carry an electric current that killed Adriana. If fountains are not maintained, experts said that the water could send a charge of 110 volts into someone touching it. There was notice of the danger of this particular fountain, as well, since only one month before Adriana's tragic death another student was electrocuted after falling in the fountain, and the person who rescued her was also shocked.

The state settled the lawsuit last November, paying the family $1.4 million. The family got $1 million, the maximum in Georgia under the law. Zi'Quan also received $400,000 for the emotional distress of witnessing his mother's death. The family says that the $1.4 million will be in a trust fund for Zi'Quan, who is now living with his grandmother.

Regardless of the tragedy, some students would like to see the fountain running again, with an explicit sign saying keep out of the water. But they are expensive to maintain and for now the fountain is still empty and the knee high chain is still there.

Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys

If a loved one has died unnecessarily due to the negligence of another, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues to get needed compensation, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: nathangibbs via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Widow Wins Pastor's Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Basketball Player Sued for Wrongful Death

March 13, 2014

Widow Wins Pastor's Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers recently read about the conclusion of a trial in a tragic case where a young pastor, 28-year-old Jonathan Ayers, was shot and killed when he inadvertently walked into a drug investigation.

Police Line.jpg

Mr. Ayers, a minister at the Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, was in the parking lot of a Toccoa convenience store on September 1, 2009. He was unaware that there was an undercover drug investigation going on at the time. He was shot and killed by Deputy Billy Shane Harrison when the police apparently mistook him for a drug dealer. The family's attorney said, "This young man had done nothing wrong and was shot and killed by officers dressed like thugs that appeared to him were trying to carjack him," and called it an "egregious case." In December that year, a grand jury found the shooting justified and cleared Harrison of any criminal wrongdoing. This caused some complaints of a tainted process due to the thought that the police were looking after their own in this case, and some local residents were unhappy. Then in March 2010, Mr. Ayers' widow, Abigail, who was pregnant with their first child at the time of her husband's death, filed a wrongful death lawsuit. She alleged excessive use of deadly force, assault, battery and false arrest, accusing Deputy Harrison of "gross and plain incompetence," saying he was an overzealous cop who violated her husband's civil rights.

At the civil trial, Deputy Harrison said he thought Mr. Ayers was an imminent threat because he had been talking to a suspected drug dealer, and then backed toward another officer, and then drove forward towards Deputy Harrison. Video from the convenience store shows Deputy Harrison shooting at Mr. Ayers' car as he drove away. One of the bullets hit Mr. Ayers, who crashed his car half a mile from the store, and was still conscious when police found him. While still conscious, he told police he sped away because he thought he was being robbed and didn't know the people near his car were police officers. Deputy Harrison claims that is untrue, and believed Mr. Ayers saw his badge and knew he was a cop. Mr. Ayers later died at the hospital during surgery to repair the bullet wound.
In February, a federal jury found for Mrs. Ayers and awarded the family $2,305,352. The jury found that Deputy Harrison had "intentionally committed acts that violated Jonathan Ayers' constitutional right not to be subjected to excessive or unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer."

Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys


If you or a loved one has died due to the negligence of another, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. These cases are often complicated and, like above, take years to resolve. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: CarbonNYC via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Basketball Player Sued for Wrongful Death
Wrongful Death Case Against DFCS

February 25, 2014

Dupont Yard, Inc. Cited by OSHA

Our Atlanta workplace accident lawyers read news about Dupont Yard, Inc, a forest products manufacturer in Georgia, being cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for unsafe working conditions at a facility in Homerville.

Forest.jpg

Dupont Yard manufactures posts for agricultural projects and highway construction. It also produces timber and wood chips. And this is not the first time Dupont has been cited for worker safety violations - the company has been cited for 39 violations in four previous inspections. The latest inspection found more violations.

Three of the new violations were classed as "wilful." A "wilful" violation is a violation committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the requirements of the law, or with plain indifference to the health and safety of the workers. Of these, workers were exposed to hazards from Dupont's failure to implement basic safety procedures to prevent machines from starting or moving during maintenance. This can cause amputation of limbs or even death. OSHA also found that there were caught-in and crushing hazards from unguarded rotating chains and sprocket wheels. OSHA found electrical hazards, as well. In all, these violations carry a penalty of $171,600. In addition, workers were also found to have been exposed to 17 "serious" health and safety violations, many relating to the failure to implement a lockout/ tagout program properly. This includes not providing workers with training and locks for equipment prior to maintenance. Also, accumulated wood dust greater than 1/8 of an inch was found. "Serious" violations are those where the employer knew or should have known that there was a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard. These violations have penalties totaling $77,770.

Dupont is also responsible for additional penalties for two repeat violations from inspections in March 2008 and January 2011. Repeat violations occur when an employer was previously cited for the same or similar violation at any facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years. Dupont lacked proper housekeeping and also failed to close electrical panels. These penalties total $30,030.

All totalled, Dupont Yard owes $279,400 for these violations. But money is not the end of it. Dupont has also now been put in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Now the company will be subject to follow up inspections which include any of the employer's facilities or job sites. Dupont had 15 working days from receiving the citations to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations before the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Atlanta Workplace Accident Lawyers


If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at work, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: Vainsang via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Pilgrim's Pride Violations For Worker's Safety
Norfolk Southern Must Pay Injured Workers

February 20, 2014

Georgia Medical Malpractice Bill Being Considered

Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers have been following the news about potential changes to Georgia's medical malpractice laws in Senate Bill 141. The bill, called the Patient Injury Act, would prevent patients from suing doctors and hospitals in Georgia and is being considered by the Georgia Senate now.

Doctors.jpg

In the place of court lawsuits, the law would create a panel of appointed healthcare experts that would hear cases, determine injuries and award compensation. The amount of compensation would be capped. But this Patients Compensation System would promptly award the determined compensation after the medical panel finds an avoidable harm, which would theoretically reduce the time it takes a patient or their family to receive compensation. The panel would be under the Department of Community Health. This system of compensation would be funded by malpractice insurance premiums that doctors and hospitals pay, and not by tax increases, according to its proponents. This idea is not new, and has been circulating for some time (see a blog from last year here). The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brandon Beach of Fulton County, says this move will reduce health insurance premiums by 15 to 22 percent.

Some doctors support the bill and this proposed change in the medical malpractice system. They cite the fact that doctors would feel less pressure to order unnecessary tests in order to avoid a costly lawsuit, something doctors call "defensive medicine." Senator Beach says reducing defensive medicine will save $14 billion.

Consumer advocates are worried that this change could seal malpractice records and make it harder for patient's to research doctors' backgrounds. Others dispute Sen. Beach's claims of cost saving, saying the change could increase costs in the system, and may ultimately be unconstitutional. The constitutional aspect revolves around the right to trial by jury in both the US Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia, which has been part of the civil jury system for these types of cases. And there are accusations that a government-run board would add more bureaucracy and wouldn't hold negligent medical professionals properly accountable. The Medical Association of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia are both against this bill. The Medical Association represents 8,000 doctors in the state, and their primary concern is increased costs. Former state Senator Arthur "Skin" Edge, who now works as a lobbyist for a medical malpractice insurance company, noted, "no other state has attempted such a drastic overhaul."

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers


Regardless of how the debate goes, if you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our lawyers follow changes in Georgia law that may impact our clients. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: ReSurge International via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Diagnostic Errors Main Problem in Medical Malpractice Cases
New Bill Proposes Med Mal Changes

February 20, 2014

Georgia Medical Malpractice Bill Being Considered

Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers have been following the news about potential changes to Georgia's medical malpractice laws in Senate Bill 141. The bill, called the Patient Injury Act, would prevent patients from suing doctors and hospitals in Georgia and is being considered by the Georgia Senate now.

Doctors.jpg

In the place of court lawsuits, the law would create a panel of appointed healthcare experts that would hear cases, determine injuries and award compensation. The amount of compensation would be capped. But this Patients Compensation System would promptly award the determined compensation after the medical panel finds an avoidable harm, which would theoretically reduce the time it takes a patient or their family to receive compensation. The panel would be under the Department of Community Health. This system of compensation would be funded by malpractice insurance premiums that doctors and hospitals pay, and not by tax increases, according to its proponents. This idea is not new, and has been circulating for some time (see a blog from last year here). The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brandon Beach of Fulton County, says this move will reduce health insurance premiums by 15 to 22 percent.

Some doctors support the bill and this proposed change in the medical malpractice system. They cite the fact that doctors would feel less pressure to order unnecessary tests in order to avoid a costly lawsuit, something doctors call "defensive medicine." Senator Beach says reducing defensive medicine will save $14 billion.

Consumer advocates are worried that this change could seal malpractice records and make it harder for patient's to research doctors' backgrounds. Others dispute Sen. Beach's claims of cost saving, saying the change could increase costs in the system, and may ultimately be unconstitutional. The constitutional aspect revolves around the right to trial by jury in both the US Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia, which has been part of the civil jury system for these types of cases. And there are accusations that a government-run board would add more bureaucracy and wouldn't hold negligent medical professionals properly accountable. The Medical Association of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia are both against this bill. The Medical Association represents 8,000 doctors in the state, and their primary concern is increased costs. Former state Senator Arthur "Skin" Edge, who now works as a lobbyist for a medical malpractice insurance company, noted, "no other state has attempted such a drastic overhaul."

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers


Regardless of how the debate goes, if you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our lawyers follow changes in Georgia law that may impact our clients. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: ReSurge International via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Diagnostic Errors Main Problem in Medical Malpractice Cases
New Bill Proposes Med Mal Changes

February 13, 2014

Judge Orders More Damages for Medical Malpractice Case

Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys saw a recent news story about a medical malpractice case in which the judge added to the damages awarded to the injured person.

Surgeons.jpg

The case stems from the 2008 birth of twins Trevor and Alyssa Clemons. The twins' parents, Annette Clemons and Jason Cole, noticed that Trevor was acting lethargic and didn't want to eat. They took him to the emergency room at Gwinnett Medical Center, where he was transported by helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. After many tests, the little infant boy was diagnosed with maple syrup urine disease, a metabolic disorder that blocks the processing of certain amino acids. If not treated promptly and properly, this disorder can lead to permanent brain damage. And it was discovered that this is what happened to little Trevor Clemons.

In 2010, Annette Clemons and Jason Cole filed a lawsuit against several doctors and health care providers involved in Trevor's treatment. The lawsuit was filed in DeKalb County State Court, and several of the defendants settled with the family in 2012. After that, the only remaining defendants were Dr. Gregory Sysyn and Neonatology Associates of Atlanta, his employer. Trevor's case was then transferred to Fulton County. In 2012, there was an offer to settle the remainder of the case for $2 million, which didn't come to fruition because the defendants rejected the offer.

Eventually, a jury awarded little Trevor's family with a $3 million judgment against Dr. Sysyn and Neonatology Associates of Atlanta in 2013. And now, just last week, a judge in Fulton County ordered the defendants to pay an additional $1.5 million to the family for attorneys fees, expenses, and interest. Judge Susan Edlein, the Fulton County judge, found that the 2012 settlement offer triggered the state's offer of judgment statute. This was found to override the claims of the defense that Trevor's parents' decision to drop their claims prior to trial substantially altered the case after the settlement offer was made. Judge Edlein has not yet ruled on whether to order a new trial or issue a judgment, notwithstanding the verdict. With the extra award from Judge Edlein, the specific award to Trevor Clemons, who is now five years old, is $4,479,045.

It will be interesting to see how this case progresses, and what the judge will decide on for a potential new trial or any appeals. This case could have an impact on how the procedure and settlement offers will be interpreted in future medical malpractice cases.

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: phalinn via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

$6.7 Million for Hernia Operation Gone Wrong
Abuses with Stents Rampant

February 6, 2014

Premises Liability Case to Be Decided by GA Supreme Court

Our Atlanta premises liability lawyers read a story about a case that arose out of a shooting incident involving an Atlanta police officer in May 2009.

Handgun.jpg

The incident started when the victim, Tramaine Miller, then 27 years old, parked in a handicapped parking spot at the City View apartment complex. Mr. Miller said he was coming from his aunt's apartment, where he was helping with her medication. Reginald Fisher, a 42-year-old off-duty police officer who had worked for the Atlanta Police Department for two years, was working a second job as a security guard at the apartment complex. Fisher went over to the car and ordered Mr. Miller to unlock the car door, which Mr. Miller refused. Fisher then smashed in the car window with a baton and shot Mr. Miller in the face. Witnesses said that Mr. Miller had his hands raised when he was shot, but Fisher claims Mr. Miller was reaching under the seat to grab for something he mistook as a gun, and that he feared for his life, especially as this was a high crime area known for drug dealing. It turned out Mr. Miller was just reaching for a cell phone. Mr. Miller survived the incident but still has the bullet in his neck. Fisher was charged in the shooting, but was acquitted by a jury in Fulton County in 2011. He was suspended without pay from the police force, and has been working as a truck driver.

Mr. Miller filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of City View apartments and the managing company, which has also been making its way through the court system. The Court of Appeals decided 5-2 that the owner of City View and the managing company can be held vicariously liable for the actions of Reginald Fisher. The judgment said that Fisher approached cars to verify their access to the apartment complex, which was not a police function. Due to this, summary judgment was not appropriate. A dissenting opinion stated that Fisher was actually trying to arrest Mr. Miller because of his belief that Mr. Miller possessed illegal drugs and the apartment manager had not given Fisher instructions on dealing with the drug problem. The dissent thus found that Fisher was acting as an Atlanta police officer during the incident with Mr. Miller, and City View and the company should not be liable. The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to take this case, so it will be interesting to see the outcome and its impact on personal injury law in Georgia.

Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyers

If you or a family member has been hurt due to the negligence of another, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss whether you have a potential case and how to move forward, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Premises Liability Case Shows New Joint and Several Liability Standard in Georgia
Security Company Sued For Negligence Over Shooting Case

January 30, 2014

Nursing Home Identity Theft Case

This week our Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers read a news story about a case of identity theft at a Georgia nursing home that lead to two criminal cases and one lengthy sentence so far.

Old Woman with Glasses.jpg

Yolanda Blount, also known as Yolanda King, a 32-year-old woman from Macon, was charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, theft of public money, aggravated identity theft, and access device fraud. Ms. Blount admitted that she had taken information from nursing home patients, stealing their identities, and then used that information to file false tax returns. Investigators found tax returns showing she filed for $511,951 in refunds and actually received $460,692 from the IRS. Some federal tax refunds were processed in the names of patients and mailed to Ms. Blount's address, while others were deposited directly into Ms. Blount's persona bank account.

Ms. Blount pled guilty to the crimes last September, admitting that she had been engaged in these identity theft activities since 2010. She was helped by Raquel Hogan, who was employed at Macon Management Health and Rehabilitation Center. Ms. Blount was sentenced on Friday by the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, United States District Court Judge, in Macon, Georgia. Ms. Blount received a 27-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $493,506.60 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Hogan also pled guilty for her involvement and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 19th in Macon.

US Attorney Michael Moore said of Ms. Blount's case, "Ms. Blount's actions represent the worst kind of greed accompanied by criminal conduct. Not only did she use the stolen identification of nursing home patients to advance her scheme, she stole from the American people when she obtained the fraudulent refunds. Ms. Blount's fraud was far-reaching, and she is deserving of this harsh sentence. Identity theft and fraud are not victimless crimes; when you want to know who the victims are, all you have to do is look in the mirror." Likewise, the FBI's Acting Special Agent in charge at the Atlanta office, Ricky Maxwell, said, "The FBI will continue to provide investigative resources toward such cases as this that victimize so many, to include the elderly, through identity theft. Anyone with information regarding such activities should contact their nearest FBI field office."

Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Identity theft is a big problem, and the risk of identity theft has increased in recent years due to technology advances. But often the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, are targeted. If a loved one has been the victim of abuse at a nursing home or elderly care facility, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Alejandro Street Photography via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Home for Senior Citizens Involved in Exploitation Case
Pesticides Illegally Sprayed in Georgia Nursing Homes

January 23, 2014

Basketball Player Sued for Wrongful Death

Our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys saw a news story about a wrongful death lawsuit against NBA Los Angeles Lakers and Georgia Tech basketball star, Javaris Crittenton. This civil lawsuit was filed by June Woods, the mother of Julian Jones, who Crittenton allegedly killed in August 2011. Crittenton is currently in the Fulton County jail after being arrested last week for drug charges while he was out on bond, after being arrested for Ms. Jones's murder.

Basketball.jpg

Julian Jones was killed by a high-caliber rifle in southeast Atlanta on the night of August 19th, 2011. Police accused Crittenton, and he was charged with murder, aggravated assault, and criminal gang activity in connection with Ms. Jones death. The prosecutors contend that Crittenton was trying to retaliate against a rival gang member when he shot Ms. Jones, claiming the gang member had previously robbed him. Crittenton was released on a $230,000 bond in September 2011, but then had a curfew imposed on him in October after accusations he tried to intimidate a Fulton County prosecutor. Earlier this month he was indicted with several other co-defendants for drug charges, and then was arrested in Fayette County last Wednesday for drug offenses again. Crittenton maintains he's not guilty and that the case will go to trial, not "mob justice."

Julian Jones was the mother of four, and Ms. Wood said she was filing the civil lawsuit to try to get compensation to help Ms. Jones's young children. Her attorney asked the court to freeze Crittenton's assets. This is after allegations that Crittenton transferred two homes, one in Fulton County and one in Fayette County, to his mother to avoid them being claimed in a civil court case. Ms. Woods will ask the court transfer those properties back to Crittenton. She is also trying to get the files from the prosecutor's office on the criminal trial for her daughter's death, and the civil suit will continue pending the murder trial.

This case is a good example of how civil and criminal cases can go hand in hand over the same act. A criminal trial has a higher burden of proof, which means the evidence must be beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone of a crime. But civil cases have a lower burden. And they can also benefit families who are struggling financially, often directly due to the loss of the loved one.

Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers

If a loved one has died unnecessarily, whether from a criminal case like the Javaris Crittenton case above or through negligence like with a drug or alcohol impaired driver, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward with a lawsuit, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: fabbio via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Potential Tougher DUI Sentences After Wrongful Death
Rapper Named in Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit

January 15, 2014

Elderly Man Attacked by Dogs

Our Atlanta dog bite attorneys read a news story about a 70-year-old Georgia man who was attacked by two dogs last week.

William Mote was walking down Greenwood Road, like many of his neighbours do, to get exercise. Mr. Mote took this walk regularly, walking to the church at the end of the street, going around the church using the parking lot, and walking back. Sometimes Mr. Mote was accompanied by his young great-grandson, who is 8 years old, and was walking with Mr. Mote just the day before the tragic attack.

Puppy.jpg

On the day of the attack, Friday January 3rd in the afternoon, Mr. Mote was walking towards the church with his back to a car lot where the dogs were kept. Two mixed breed pit bulls, one brown and one white, owned by employees at the Anchor Auto Sales nearby, got loose. The white dog bit Mr. Mote's hand and arm and the brown one, which was the smaller of the two, attacked Mr. Mote's leg. Erica Tarpley, his granddaughter, said the only reason he survived the attack is his neighbour, Marissa Bruce, saw the attack from her car as she was driving down Greenwood Road. She honked and opened the door for Mr. Mote to climb in. Mr. Mote managed to kick the dogs off and get into her car, but he suffered horrible injuries to his hands, arms and legs. He had to receive medical care and is still recovering.

When police deputies responded, even they felt afraid and threatened by the two dogs. Chief Deputy Barbara Burnette of the Jones County Sheriff's Office told reporters, "The deputies tried to scream, yell, everything to try to get them back in the fence. That wasn't happening. The dogs actually ran after the deputies and tried to attack and had him hemmed up against his car." It became so dangerous one of the deputies shot and killed one of the dogs. The other dog is at Jones County Animal Control. However, the owners of the pit bull mixes claim neither dog has done anything like this before. Chief Deputy Burnette noted that pet owners need to be responsible and "on top of" their pets, whether or not they think the animal is aggressive or not because animals could attack at any time.

Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dangerous dog, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss what happened and how to move forward with a legal case, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: Paco CT via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

TSA Dog Bites Woman at Atlanta Airport
National Dog Bite Prevention Week

January 7, 2014

Home for Senior Citizens Involved in Exploitation Case

Our Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys read an article about an investigation into management of a senior citizen home for exploitation of elderly residents of the Loving Care Senior Citizen Home in Columbus, Georgia. The owner, director, and maintenance manager were among those arrested in connection with Loving Care's ongoing abuse and exploitation of residents.

Old Man hat credit.jpg

Sheryl Drakeford, the director of Loving Care, was charged on December 4th with intimidating or exploiting a disabled adult, and also a misdemeanor charge of operating a personal care home without a license. Bruce Davis was also arrested in connection with these crimes. Marcus Miles and KaShonda Miles were also charged in connection with Loving Care for aggravated child molestation, two counts of false imprisonment, and two counts of sexual assault of a person while in custody. A fifth suspect, Tina Drakeford, was also arrested just last week. She is charged with exploitation of a disabled or elder adult.

Several patients stated that they hadn't received money that was funneled through Ms. Drakeford. She is accused of taking hundreds of dollars from her often needy victims, sometimes collecting money from those that had no place to stay or had moved out. But that is the tip of the iceberg with the cruel abuse allegedly perpetrated at Loving Care, a place where elderly and disabled adults should be cared for but instead were mistreated and abused in shocking ways. In addition to financial fraud, residents were not given proper medical care and medical records were improperly kept, residents lived in unsanitary conditions, and were also subjected to physical cruelty and even sexual abuse. Sgt. Mark Richards of the Columbus Police Department's Bureau of Investigative Services and Special Victim's Unit said in a statement that the residents were also not given enough food in the facility that was poorly equipped and understaffed. Investigators found remnants of bugs, food items covered in roach feces, and long expired and rusted canned goods when they searched the premise.

The facility was also incredibly overcrowded, with some residents sleeping on couches or on a bathroom floor. Rooms meant for two residents were housing three. Sometimes Ms. Drakeford would take excess elderly patients and keep them at her home, when Loving Care was overcrowded, or worse outsource them to other unlicensed homes. Sgt. Richards said, "As the facility became overcrowded, the facility would send some of their obnoxious and troubling patients to another facility that was unlicensed. In some cases, these unlicensed facilities were worse than where they were previously staying."

Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

If a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect in a senior care facility, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. An attorney can discuss your legal options with you and help you understand what steps to take. Contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: Neil. Moralee via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Pesticides Illegally Sprayed in Georgia Nursing Homes

Criminal Charges in Nursing Home Abuse Case

January 2, 2014

Potential Tougher DUI Sentences After Wrongful Death

With the new year 2014 arriving, one Georgia lawmaker will introduce a bill with tougher sentences for those convicted of driving under the influence, or DUI. Our Georgia wrongful death attorneys read a news story about this proposed law by Representative Earnest Smith and the story behind it.

Mustang.jpg

The bill, which will be introduced in the State Legislature in January, will give judges the option of ordering up to five days in jail for first time DUI offenders. At present, there is only a 48-hour mandatory sentence for first time DUI offenders. The bill is in honor of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's intern, Jordan Griner, whose death Rep. Smith called "truly tragic". Jordan was from Augusta, Georgia, the same area as Rep. Smith. Jordan was killed by a drunk driver on June 19, 2010 when he was 24 years old. He was the designated driver for friends after a party and was almost home at around 4 o'clock in the morning. The drunk driver was 26-year-old Christa Scott. She was driving her Mustang home from working as a bartender at Door 44, a club in Atlanta, and had a blood alcohol level of 0.229, nearly triple the legal limit to drive, when she ran a red light and hit Jordan's car. Ms. Scott was later convicted of a DUI and wrongful death. She got a 10-year sentence, five years in prison and another five on probation.

Ms. Scott apologized to the family, but they felt she should have thought of her actions before getting in her car to drive under the influence. Jordan's mother, Autumn Griner, asked the judge in the case to make Ms. Scott have a reminder of Jordan, and the judge complied, ordering Ms. Scott to carry Jordan's picture with her during the 10-year sentence. The district attorney from Fulton County, Clint Rucker, said of the family, "they felt like having his photo, even as she is in prison, would be a source of a constant reminder for her of how the consequences of drinking and driving had affected an exemplary young man."

Of the new bill, Rep. Smith said, "We want to get something on the books that will ensure everyone that gets stopped for a DUI. We want them to know you will get something other than what you've typically been getting." He also said of the new five-day sentence, "We need a wow. We want people to understand this is really serious business."

Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers

If a loved one has died unnecessarily due to the negligence of another, including in vehicle crashes due to drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss what happened and how to move forward with a legal case, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Photo Credit: stevoarnold via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Pedestrian Hit and Killed by Tractor Trailer
Street Racing Kills Two in Georgia

December 27, 2013

Home Elevators Danger for Children

Our Atlanta product liability lawyers know that products in your own house can be dangerous, especially to children. A news story last week talked about a Georgia family's saga with a home elevator, which caused their young son to become disabled.

Little boy credit.jpg

Michael and Brandi Helvey invested $20,000 for a National Wheel-O-Vator Destiny elevator in their home to help Michael's 80 year old mother who moved in with them. It worked so well they recommended it to neighbors. But on Christmas Eve three years ago the elevators dangers became apparent. The Helvey's have a son, Jacob, who was three years old at the time and curious about his surroundings. The parents thought they had been careful with child gates in their home. But Jacob stood on his tip toes and managed to open the elevator's swinging outer door. That swinging outer door closed and latched, and trapped Jacob against the inner door on the elevator car. Brandi Helvey heard noises and pushed the elevator button from upstairs, and when it started the elevator dragged Jacob. They put the elevator back down once again, but the movement shoved Jacob feet first into the elevator shaft, trapping his chest tightly in the small space. The family tried to get him out for 10 minutes with no success. When the emergency crew finally arrived, he had nearly suffocated to death already. Jacob survived, but he suffered terrible injuries. He has brain damage from lack of oxygen to his brain, he cannot speak, and he is now a quadriplegic.

Jacob Helvey and the Helvey family are not alone, sadly. These swinging door elevators have become more popular in homes in recent years, particularly to help elderly family members. At least seven children have died due to accidents with these kind of elevators since 1995. Despite this, most who install these elevators don't know of the dangers. "We never had any idea this could happen," said Michael Helvey. "But we found out that the industry knows all about this. There are other cases. My son was just the only one we know of who survived." He and his family settled a lawsuit this year against National Wheel-o-Vator and their parent company, ThyssenKrupp Access.

Manufacturers estimate there are about 125,000 swing-door elevators in use around the United States, and another 5,000 sold annually the last few years, mostly for townhouses and single-family homes. People need to be aware of the dangers and more needs to be done to protect small children from getting trapped.

Atlanta Product Liability Lawyers

If you or a family member has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss what happened, whether you have a case, and how to move forward, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

Everyone at Sammons & Carpenter wish you and your family a Happy Holidays!

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Consumer Warning: Energy Drinks Under Investigation After Links to Illness and Death

Product Liability For Driverless Cars